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Gas Station Conversation
October 26, 2005
I left the house this morning at 9:20 to attend to two small jobs. Neither was supposed to take more than a few minutes. Yet somehow it is now four hours later and I have just gotten home. The work took a little bit longer than expected and I got called into various meetings. So here it is at 1:30 which is far too late in the day for me to write anything encouraging or even interesting. Instead I thought I would relay a discussion I had this morning.
I just lied. I am going to relay a discussion I had this morning and seamlessly blend it with a discussion I had with the same person just a few days ago. I consider this artistic license and since prose is a form of art I am entitled to use it. The story requires less explanation this way. So just bear with me.
Just around the corner from us is a gas station, that until a few weeks ago was staffed entirely by twenty-something caucasian men and women who must have spent most of the money they earned from tending the till on tattoos. Their dress, demeanour and topics of conversation seemed to show that they had little ambition and certainly little concern for customer service. They seemed to believe that weekend antics, party behavior and, well, just about everything else, was appropriate for discussion while in the presence of customers. Then, quite suddenly, the entire staff was replaced with middle-aged East Indians whom I assume, judging by their accents and grasp of the English language, are probably recent immigrants (as indeed are 50% of the people who live in the Toronto area). I am guessing that the franchise for this particular gas station was sold and the new owner elected to bring in his own staff. I am quite certain that is in violation of Canadian labor laws.
Allow me now to relate a conversation (or two) I had with one of the new staff members at this station. I had just walked into the little store at the gas station to pay for my gas and a bottle of Coke Zero (which is chemically delicious).
Attendant: What pump?
Me: Two. Twenty dollars.
Attendant (holding out a basket of miscellaneous snacks): You like one of these?
Me: No thanks.
Me: Okay then. (Tim selects a package of Skittles from the basket)
Attendant: No, not those. Those not included.
Me: Alright, how about these? (Tim selects a small bag of candy from the basket)
Attendant: No. Not those. These. (Attendant digs under the Skittles and selects a bag of trail mix that looks like it might be left over from the Second World War)
Me: Oh, no thanks. I won’t eat that. (Attendant disregards my polite refusal and puts the bag beside the bottle of Coke. Tim resigns himself to accepting the snack)
Attendant: Lotto 6/49 ticket?
Me: No thanks.
Attendant: Prize is up to forty million dollars.
Me: No thanks. I’m really not interested.
Attendant: It just takes one to win! It’s only two dollars. Two dollars to win forty million.
Me: I don’t play the lottery.
Attendant: Forty million dollars!
Me: Listen, sir, I don’t play the lottery. The lottery is really nothing but a tax on stupidity and I don’t know about you but I already pay enough taxes!
Attendant: You can’t win if you don’t play!
Me: Tell you what. If I walk out of this building and get struck by lightning I will crawl back in here and buy a lottery ticket. Because my chances of getting hit by lightning today are far better than of winning forty million dollars.
Attendant: What’s this (gestures towards my debit card)
Me: That’s a debit card.
And finally he let me go. I got away without a lottery ticket. I sampled the trail mix just long enough to confirm that it was really quite disgusting.
Anyways, it is now almost 2 o’clock and I really need to get some work done!